Rediscover: Italian Neighbors

Tim Parks is an English writer and translator whose 14 novels include Europa, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has translated from Italian works by Alberto Moravia, Giacomo Leopardi and Niccolò Machiavelli, among others, and has written nonfiction work that includes Medici Money and Teach Us to Sit Still. He's also a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books.

Parks's most amusing and insightful work has to do with Italy, the country he's lived in since 1981, where he settled with his Italian wife. Italian Neighbors or a Lapsed Anglo-Saxon in Verona, published in 1992, chronicles his first decade in his adopted country, focusing on the denizens of his apartment building and others in his small town near Verona. Unlike some dewy-eyed books about Italy, Italian Neighbors offers sometimes jarring portraits of passionate, eccentric, strange, ultimately lovable Italians--and comes highly recommended by Italians themselves. A bestseller, it was followed by An Italian Education, a look at how children are schooled in Italy; A Season in Verona, Italian life seen through the prism of soccer; Italian Ways, On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo, accounts of travel in Italy; and A Literary Tour of Italy, an essay collection. Italian Neighbors was last published by Grove Press in 2003 ($16, 9780802140340).

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